10/30/2009

Google drives into navigation market

Filed under: — Aviran

Google Inc is adding Garmin Ltd and TomTom to its growing list of rivals as the Internet search giant weaves technology for driving directions into new versions of its smartphone software.

Google said its new Google Maps Navigation product will provide real-time, turn-by-turn directions directly within cell phones that are based on the new version of its Android software.

The navigation product, which features speech recognition and a visual display that incorporates Google’s online archive of street photographs, marks the latest step by Google to challenge Apple Inc’s iPhone and Microsoft Corp’s Windows Mobile software with its Android smartphone software.

It also represents a direct competitive threat to companies like Garmin and TomTom which sell specialized hardware navigation devices. TomTom also makes a software navigation app for the iPhone that sells for $99.99 in the U.S.

Google launches music search with Lala and iLike

Filed under: — Aviran

Google Inc on Wednesday partnered with Web services Lala and MySpace’s iLike to give music fans an easier way to find, sample and buy songs on the Internet, expanding its music industry footprint.

The global Web search leader will provide users who want to sample a song with a pop-up box that will play at least a 30-second segment — in some cases the entire song — provided by iLike and Lala, which will then offer links to purchase the music.

Google has also teamed up with Pandora, iMeem and Rhapsody to incorporate links to those music sites, to help consumers discover music related to search queries. Google will begin rolling the feature out to users across the United States on Wednesday.

The move will help cement Google’s role in the music industry, which is struggling with plunging sales amid the rise of Apple’s iTunes and other sites, and fewer media outlets to break new acts. Investors hope that streaming songs or video clips online will help stem the fan-base losses.

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